Golden wood floors, brightly colored walls, black-and-tan carpeting and a brown pressed-tin ceiling encase booths and rows of tables for two at Kaldi’s. Up a short flight of stairs, a fire flickers by a comfy couch. This coffee house presents an inviting atmosphere that sets high expectations for a lovely experience, but all that cheery warmth is useless when you're faced with a long wait for food and drink—only to discover that the products are just ordinary.
Customers place their orders at the counter for baked goods, breakfast burritos, quiche and steel-cut oats ($3.49 plus 25 cents per topping), along with fresh-brewed coffee drinks and tea. The staff calls your name when your order is ready. We received our food fairly quickly, but our chai and Chemex coffee took awhile. The oats were mushy (steel-cut implies some texture and bite), and of the toppings we'd asked for—walnuts, brown sugar, raisins and almond milk—the brown sugar was missing. In the end, we left still hungry for the quality the setting promises.